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Laporta takes BMW PGA Championship lead as Ryder Cup race nears thrilling climax

The 30-year-old carded a three under 69, which included an eagle at the par five fourth, to move to a 14 under total and edge one ahead of Englishman Laurie Canter, who signed for a two under 70.

Amongst those a shot further back on 12 under were former FedEx Cup winner Billy Horschel and 2013 Masters Champion Adam Scott, while 2019 Open Champion Shane Lowry and two-time Rolex Series winner Bernd Wiesberger were both on 11 under par heading into the final day.

Lowry and Wiesberger are both one low round away from sealing automatic qualification to the Ryder Cup, while Justin Rose would need to come from five strokes back to get the win he requires to move into the automatic qualification spots – the former U.S. Open winner sits on nine under par.

Lee Westwood is also in danger of slipping out of the automatic qualification places for Whistling Straits in two weeks’ time – the former World Number One will be targeting a low final round at Wentworth Club while having one eye on the results of Lowry and Wiesberger.

Player Quotes

Francesco Laporta: “The last few holes I was like – just be patient and focus shot-by-shot – that was what I was thinking, and I played solid.

“I’m feeling more relaxed. Last week (in Italy) was by far more pressure on me. Anyway, I got my card for sure and I feel more comfortable now and actually I’m playing better. My goal is just to finish Top-50 (in the Race to Dubai).

“It will be tough (tomorrow). It will be tough, but I like to be under pressure. This is what we play for. And the crowd is amazing. Just looking forward to playing tomorrow and seeing all the crowds.”

Laurie Canter: “It was similar to yesterday. I felt like I controlled the ball pretty well and hit it in the right spots and was patient. Obviously didn’t score quite as well as yesterday. Couple of poor shots, but taking the whole day as a whole, I’m happy with how I played and quite chuffed for tomorrow.

“I’m trying to enjoy it. I’m trying to enjoy the experience because I think you have to. It’s the best part of the job when you’re playing well and there’s atmosphere and so to take it in, obviously remain focused on what you have to do. But it’s a nice atmosphere and try and you have to enjoy it.”

Billy Horschel: “There are tournaments as pros that we want to win, the PLAYERS, the Majors, maybe a few others but as an American, you don’t usually say a tournament on the European Tour. To win the BMW PGA Championship would be equal to me to the PLAYERS Championship. When I first came over two years ago, I fell in love with the golf course, which I knew I would.

“The fans have been great to me. The support has been great this year, even knowing I have support for West Ham. It’s became one of those tournaments after two years ago that I wanted to win, and so to get that victory tomorrow, if it happens, would be tremendous.”

Bernd Wiesberger: “I’m just focusing on trying to win the golf tournament. You have to push forward and be positive in your approach over every single shot regardless of the outcome. Just be positive with that and I kind of feel like I’m good enough to be on the leaderboard. It’s nice to be there as well and it’s such a great event with the crowd and to be able to play here and just enjoy it.

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Didn’t get off to the best of starts, nevertheless we hung in there, grinded it out, especially end of the first day to get under par. That was mentally important to knock that in on the last. It meant a lot at the end of the first round. Kind of set the tone for yesterday and today.

“I stayed patient waiting for my opportunities and played aggressive when I had an opportunity and smart when I was out of position. Everything feels really good and I enjoyed my time out there and really looking forward to tomorrow.”

Shane Lowry: “I got off to a great start today again like I have every other day. Nine through 15, I actually played the holes pretty well and missed a few chances and then all of the sudden one mistake and I make bogey and then birdie 17. I really felt like that putt was going to go in on the last, if I shot 2-under I would have been disappointed whereas 3-under, 11-under for the tournament, hopefully the leaders won’t go too far away.

“I feel like I had a great chance to make the (Ryder Cup) team in 2016 and threw that away. Missed a few cuts in a row and felt like I was there after the U.S. Open, but then shied away from it a little bit. Whereas the last few months I fought as hard as I could and went out every day and tried my best and thankfully it’s been good. Who knows whether it will be good enough?

“Tomorrow, first and foremost in my head is trying to win this one. I love this place. I love coming here. It’s such a big event. I truly would love to win the tournament and I think if I win the tournament — yeah, it’s been a stressful enough week. I’m very happy the way I’ve performed.”

Round Three Scores 

202 F LAPORTA (ITA) 68 65 69,

203 L CANTER (ENG) 67 66 70,

204 C BEZUIDENHOUT (RSA) 64 72 68, B HORSCHEL (USA) 70 65 69, J DONALDSON (WAL) 69 66 69, A SCOTT (AUS) 65 69 70,

205 S CROCKER (USA) 71 68 66, B WIESBERGER (AUT) 71 67 67, S LOWRY (IRL) 70 66 69,

206 J WALTERS (RSA) 70 70 66, J LAGERGREN (SWE) 70 70 66, N H?JGAARD (DEN) 70 67 69, K APHIBARNRAT (THA) 64 68 74,

207 A RAI (ENG) 70 70 67, S SHARMA (IND) 70 69 68, A JOHNSTON (ENG) 70 69 68, T FLEETWOOD (ENG) 71 68 68, M SCHWAB (AUT) 69 69 69, T PIETERS (BEL) 70 66 71, J ROSE (ENG) 67 68 72,

208 R CABRERA BELLO (ESP) 71 69 68, M KAYMER (GER) 70 68 70, M ARMITAGE (ENG) 70 66 72, M KAWAMURA (JPN) 67 69 72,

209 M FITZPATRICK (ENG) 72 69 68, D LAW (SCO) 72 69 68, D DRYSDALE (SCO) 70 70 69, A BJ?RK (SWE) 69 70 70, R FISHER (ENG) 71 67 71, T PULKKANEN (FIN) 70 67 72, J HANSEN (DEN) 69 68 72, F ZANOTTI (PAR) 70 66 73,

210 M SOUTHGATE (ENG) 70 72 68, G COETZEE (RSA) 73 69 68, J SENIOR (ENG) 70 71 69, S GALLACHER (SCO) 73 67 70, D BURMESTER (RSA) 70 70 70, H STENSON (SWE) 69 71 70, J VEERMAN (USA) 73 66 71, M KORHONEN (FIN) 70 68 72, M JIM?NEZ (ESP) 68 69 73, S HORSFIELD (ENG) 72 65 73,

211 V PEREZ (FRA) 76 66 69, L BJERREGAARD (DEN) 73 68 70, P WARING (ENG) 73 68 70, B STONE (RSA) 72 69 70, L WESTWOOD (ENG) 70 70 71, W ORMSBY (AUS) 73 66 72, K SAMOOJA (FIN) 70 69 72,

212 D HOWELL (ENG) 71 71 70, F MOLINARI (ITA) 69 73 70, R BLAND (ENG) 74 68 70, J SMITH (ENG) 71 71 70, R ROCK (ENG) 72 70 70, A OTAEGUI (ESP) 72 69 71, A NOREN (SWE) 70 70 72, V HOVLAND (NOR) 72 67 73,

213 G FORREST (SCO) 70 72 71, R FOX (NZL) 73 69 71, O WILSON (ENG) 69 73 71, J LUITEN (NED) 68 72 73, E MOLINARI (ITA) 73 67 73, D HORSEY (ENG) 72 68 73, G MCDOWELL (NIR) 71 69 73, P LARRAZ?BAL (ESP) 68 70 75,

214 D WILLETT (ENG) 70 71 73, R RAMSAY (SCO) 71 70 73,

215 A LEVY (FRA) 75 67 73, J STALTER (FRA) 72 69 74, J SURI (USA) 69 72 74, N ELVIRA (ESP) 70 70 75, D GAVINS (ENG) 70 69 76,

216 S BROWN (ENG) 70 72 74, R MCGOWAN (ENG) 70 69 77,

217 A ROZNER (FRA) 77 65 75, R ROUSSEL (FRA) 70 72 75,

218 M KIEFFER (GER) 72 70 76,

219 J WINTHER (DEN) 69 73 77,

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